Administrative Fellowship

UAB Medicine (University of Alabama at Birmingham) is an academic health center located in Birmingham, Alabama. At UAB, we pride ourselves as being the premier medical facility in the state and region, with healthcare professionals who are second to none.

As one of U.S. News and World Report's Best Hospitals and a winner of the Women's Choice award, UAB is a national leader in patient care, research, and training. Medical professionals from around the nation look to us to be in the vanguard of medicine, and we deliver on that expectation. Patients look to us for hope when in medical distress, and our nurses and medical staff exceed expectations in providing the highest quality of care, always with the patients and their families in mind.


UAB Medicine offers four unique fellowship opportunities: Hospital Operations, Academic Medicine/Ambulatory Operations, Healthcare Finance, and Clinical Practice Transformation. From the beginning of each two-year fellowship, the fellow is incorporated into the executive team, respective to their focus area. Each fellowship offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary experience which consists of rotations and a diverse set of projects.

Under the guidance of an executive sponsor, preceptor, and a council of mentors, this two-year experience is tailored to meet each fellows’ needs and interests, while developing them to be a well-versed healthcare leader. Our goal is to foster critical thinking, process improvement, emotional intelligence, communication skills, strategic thinking, and other competencies to develop and build upon the fellows’ existing foundation which will support them throughout their healthcare administration careers.

Hospital Operations Fellowship

  • Possible Rotations
    • Quality (CMO), Space Planning, Nursing Leadership (CNO), Strategic Planning, Patient Experience, Clinical Network Development
  • Executive Sponsor
    • Anthony Patterson, Senior Vice President of Inpatient Services
  • Preceptor
    • Arpan Limdi, Vice President of Clinical Operations & Chief Facilities Officer

Academic Medicine/Ambulatory Operations Fellowship

  • Possible Rotations
    • Ambulatory Facility Design, Access Center, Performance Engineering, Patient Experience, Primary Care, Ambulatory Specialty Service, Research and Education Administration
  • Executive Sponsors
    • Patricia Pritchett, Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Services
    • Selwyn Vickers, Dean of the School of Medicine
  • Preceptors
    • Patricia Pritchett, Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Services
    • Toni Leeth, Associate Dean of Strategic Planning of the School of Medicine

Healthcare Finance Fellowship

  • Possible Rotations
    • Hospital Finance, Faculty Practice Plan, Funds Flow, Managed Care, Academic Finance
  • Executive Sponsor
    • Dawn Bulgarella, Chief Financial Officer of UAB Health System & Senior Associate Dean of Administration & Finance of the School of Medicine
  • Preceptors
    • Susan Jennings, Chief Financial Officer of UAB Hospital
    • Mike Heckman, Chief Financial Officer of UAB Health System Foundation
  • **Preferred undergraduate BA in accounting or finance, and/or CPA

Clinical Practice Transformation Fellowship

  • Possible Rotations
    • Performance Excellence & Performance Improvement, Office of the Chief Physician Executive
  • Executive Sponsors
    • Reid Jones, Chief Operating Officer of UAB Health System
    • Dr. Tony Jones, Chief Physician Executive
    • Dr. Rick van Pelt, Vice President of Clinical Practice Transformation
  • Preceptor
    • Dr. Rick van Pelt, Vice President of Clinical Practice Transformation

Fellows have the opportunity to attend board, planning, executive, and staff meetings; additionally, they are exposed to operational, strategic, and governance issues and decision-making. Fellows are integrated into activities and projects across UAB Medicine offering a breadth of understanding into the functioning of an academic medical center (AMC). Through this experience, fellows are exposed to the internal and external forces shaping UAB Medicine, healthcare in the state of Alabama, and the nation. Each fellowship allows the opportunity to experience the operations and management of a large, nationally recognized AMC, as well as the flexibility to accommodate personal interests within a framework of continuous learning.

The fellow will be offered a competitive salary and benefits package for the duration of the program. Reimbursement is provided for one healthcare conference of choice during the 24-month program. Additionally, relocation assistance may be available.



Key Dates

  • Application Deadline: Early October 2020
  • Skype/Phone Interview: Early October 2020
  • On-site Interview: Late October-Early November 2020
  • Official Acceptance Date: Early November 2020
  • Start Date: Late May-Early June 2021


  • Graduate of a CAHME or AACSB accredited MHA/MSHA/MHSA program, or a MBA or MPH program with an emphasis in healthcare management OR
  • Candidate has successfully completed all on-campus, didactic requirements of academic program and will graduate upon completion of a fellowship or residency
  • **Preferred undergraduate BA in accounting or finance, and/or CPA for Healthcare Finance Fellowship

Application Materials

  • Current resume/CV
  • Official graduate school transcript
  • Three letters of recommendation:
    • 1 - Academic
    • 2 - Professional
    • 3 - Other
  • Cover letter addressing:
    • What makes UAB Medicine the ideal place for you and why are you pursuing this particular fellowship with hospital operations, academic medicine/ambulatory operations, healthcare finance, or clinical practice transformation?
  • Personal statement addressing (1 page maximum):
    • Why did you choose a career in healthcare leadership?
    • How do you exhibit UAB Medicine’s values: Always Care, Own It, Work Together, and Do Right?
  • Essay (250 word maximum):
    • What do you believe is the greatest challenge facing Academic Medical Centers today? If you became the CFO/CEO/COO of UAB Medicine tomorrow, how would you assure the success of the institution moving forward?



Current Fellow
Esther Grubbe is the current Administrative Fellow for 2019-2021. She is originally from Oxford, Alabama; however, the majority of her family lives in Nebraska. Esther graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration. While at Auburn, Esther held various leadership positions, most notably, serving as the President of the Health and Hospital Administration Organization (HHAO). She has also worked in outpatient private practices throughout her education.

Since graduating from Auburn, Esther began attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) where she graduated with her Master of Business Administration and will graduate in the spring of 2020 with her Master of Science in Health Administration. Esther pursued the UAB Hospital Administrative Fellowship to gain a deeper understanding of academic medicine and inpatient operations.

Past Fellows
The UAB Medicine Administrative Fellowships prepare trainees for success in a variety of areas in healthcare management. Many fellows stay within UAB Health System after completion of the fellowships. 

  • Jessica Zeller - Planning Director, UAB Health System
  • Dawson Smith - Director, Network Development and Affiliations, UAB Health System
  • Nisha Patel - Administrative Director, UAB School of Medicine
  • Frank Sortino - Operations Administrator, UAB Hospital-Highlands
  • Mark Wiersma - Operations Manager, Cancer Community Network, UAB Health System
  • Anisa Xhaja - Director, Quality Improvement & Analytics, UAB Hospital
  • Lee Hammonds - Associate Vice President, UAB Medicine
  • Martin Smith - Operations Administrator, UAB Callahan Eye Hospital
  • Brian Berthiaume - Director, Transplant Operations, UAB Medicine
  • Hashir Hamza - Strategic Projects Coordinator, Multi-Organ Transplant Program, University Health Network
  • Jordan DeMoss - Vice President Clinical Operations, UAB Hospital
  • Melissa Mancini - Associate Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, UAB Health System
  • Ragan Manning - Senior Director, Resource Utilization, UAB Hospital


The Hospital Operations Internship at UAB Medicine provides qualified individuals with a comprehensive experience in health care management to complement and enhance the foundations of their academic programs. The position is a paid 12-week commitment. Interns are integrated into hospital leadership teams and given hands-on projects that reflect strategic priorities as well as their interests. Attendance and participation in departmental and senior management meetings are encouraged. The ultimate goal is to gain a valuable professional experience while engaging in UAB’s mission and values and demonstrating leadership potential.

Project Work to Support a Learning Experience

  • Support the functions of the inpatient leadership team as assigned by the preceptor.
  • Take ownership of and play an active role in projects directly related to operational and strategic goals of the inpatient team, i.e. driving revenue, decreasing costs, and improving patient throughput.
  • Provide oral and written communications to convey ideas, reports, and other deliverables. 
  • Shadow in clinical areas and support services.
  • Attend leadership meetings and participate in employee engagement initiatives.


  • Arpan Limdi, Vice President of Clinical Operations & Chief Facilities Officer

Application Dates and Timeline

  • Applications due January 31, 2020
  • Interviews to be scheduled for early to mid-February 2020
  • Start and end dates are somewhat flexible for the 12-week internship


  • Bachelor’s degree 
  • Enrolled in a CAHME or AACSB accredited Masters in Healthcare Administration or MBA or MPH program with a concentration in Healthcare Administration

Please contact Esther Grubbe if you have any additional questions regarding the Hospital Operations Internship.